Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving
response to business-to-business, high-tech, and direct
June 2, 2011
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***Am I catching you at a bad time?***
When cold calling, try asking the prospect, “Am I catching you
at a bad time right now?” This gives you several advantages on
** Many prospects will say, “No, it’s okay” — giving you, in
essence, permission to proceed with the sales call.
** With those who say they are busy, you can set a phone
appointment for a call-back.
** When you make that call-back, and the gatekeeper asks “Is she
expecting your call?”, you can truthfully answer “yes.”
** You will stand out from the crowd by demonstrating to
prospects you are respectful of their time.
***Buy one, get one free***
“You’ve got to know how to merchandise if you want to get
ahead,” a sales executive told a shoeshine man with a stand in
The next day the shoeshine man attracted a flood of new business
with a sign that read: “One shoe shined FREE.”
Source: Executive’s Handbook of Humor for Speakers, Bureau of
***Writing a positioning statement***
The purpose of a Positioning Statement is to create a short
message that people will remember. If you want to get your
message across, it has to be memorable.
The first sentence tells people what your service is and how
they will benefit from it. The second sentence tells how your
service is different from that of other firms.
The formula goes like this:
–[Name of firm] is a [category] firm that helps [primary
clients] reach [primary benefits]. –Unlike other [category]
firms, [name of firm] specializes in [primary difference].
Example: “ABC is an architectural firm that helps medium-sized
businesses find and renovate unique commercial spaces. Unlike
other architectural firms, ABC specializes in this type of
Using this simple formula, you can get at the essential
description of what your firm does that’s different from other
firms, and make your message more memorable.
Source: PSMJ newsletter
***Quotation of the month***
“It’s no secret that the future of the Internet is social media
and videos. Millions of people watch videos on YouTube every
day. It’s the world’s second biggest search engine. 3.5 billion
pieces of content are shared each week on Facebook and over 27.3
million tweets are shared every day. If you’re not part of this
wave, you’re going to be swept away by it.” –John Chow
***Marketing that can make you smile***
I’d like to invite you to grab a copy of “Smile Marketing,” a
free e-book by cartoonist Randy Glasbergen that shows you how to
use humour to boost sales and attract new clients. Includes 5
ways to use cartoons to boost profits and increase sales.
Download the free e-book here:
***Make your writing B.S.-free***
My colleague David Meerman Scott, author of great marketing
books like “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” has created an
online tool to help you eliminate corporate gobbledygook from
your writing. Here is the URL:
I also came across this helpful online tool for detecting high
levels of B.S. in your writing:
***Books of the Month***
Dave Kerpen’s new book “Likeable Social Media,” published by
McGraw-Hill, is a clear, easy-to-understand guide to using
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to market your product or
service. I’m a social media ignoramus and even I could easily
understand it. Highly recommended:
I also just finished David Meerman Scott’s book “World Wide
Rave” (John Wiley & Sons), which tells how to get thousands or
even millions of people to spread your ideas and share your
stories on the Internet. Very worth reading, as are all of
***How long must your copy be?***
The client asks for a 4-page sales letter … or a 16-page
magalog. But your PC tracks document length by words, not by
So how many words must you write to fill those pages? Here’s a
rough guideline showing the average word count in a page of a
** Sales letter – 300 words per page.
** Magalog – 500 words per page plus one or two visuals.
** Digest – 200 words per page.
** White paper – 300 words per page.
** Full-size sales brochure – 200 to 400 words per page.
** Ghostwritten magazine article – 800 words per magazine page.
** Online article for SEO – 500 words.
** Web page – 300 to 400 words recommended.
These are the number of words you can fit per page when the
promotion is laid out by a graphic designer. So if the job is a
16-page magalog, figure about 8,000 words.
***Do you measure this important e-mail metric?***
Measuring open and click-through rates can show you just how
successful your e-mail marketing campaigns are.
But on the flip side, there’s another metric you should measure:
the “complaint rate.” And if it’s too high, you could be in
Complaint rate is the percentage of recipients receiving your
e-mail who complain to their ISP that you are spamming them.
According to e-mail deliverability expert Kevin Senne, the
complaint rate should not exceed 0.2% — meaning a maximum of 2
spam complaints per 1,000 e-mails broadcast.
Warning: a number of e-mail services will refuse to distribute
e-mails to your list if your spam complaint rate exceeds 0.2% or
To lower your complaint rate to acceptable levels:
>> Make your e-mail copy more content-heavy … and less
>> Ask subscribers what they want to read in your e-mails – and
give it to them.
>> E-mail your list less frequently.
Source: The Marketing Report
***5 best practices for e-newsletter publishers***
I use Constant Contact to broadcast my e-zine and e-mail
marketing magazines to my opt-in e-list of over 60,000 names.
Annette Iafrate, an executive with Constant Contact, gives the
following smart and sensible tips for improving e-mail marketing
1—Use your own permission-based list.
2–When people sign up, let them know what kind of e-mails they
will receive from you and when they will get them.
3—Keep your list up-to-date by removing inactive subscribers or
sending them a one-time e-mail asking them to confirm their
4—Determine the optimal frequency by asking yourself how
frequently your customers think about or use your product.
5—Keep your content fresh, useful, and relevant.
Source: Target Marketing magazine
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